Home Sport Russian, Belarusian drivers can race in a neutral capacity says FIA

Russian, Belarusian drivers can race in a neutral capacity says FIA

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Nikita Mazepin, the only Russian on the grid, to continue to race in Formula One. Picture: Miguel Madina, AFP

Motorsport’s governing body FIA on Tuesday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but said Russian and Belarusian drivers could still take part in its competitions in a neutral capacity.

Paris – Motorsport’s governing body FIA on Tuesday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but said Russian and Belarusian drivers could still take part in its competitions in a neutral capacity.

The decision was announced following an extraordinary meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC).

It said the participation of any Russian and Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials, even in a neutral capacity, was subject to a “specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality”.

The meeting also confirmed the cancellation of this year’s Russian Grand Prix.

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The FIA decisions come in the wake of last week’s invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special operation”. Belarus has been a key staging area for the invasion.

“We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine,” said FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

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The decision of the FIA’s WMSC would allow Nikita Mazepin, the only Russian on the grid, to continue to race in Formula One.

The 22-year-old already races under a neutral flag due to doping sanctions imposed on Russia.

But he still faces an uncertain future after his U.S.-owned Haas team removed all branding related to Russian potash producer and title sponsor Uralkali on the final day of last week’s Barcelona test.

Uralkali is owned by Mazepin’s father and the fate of the partnership and the Russian’s continued presence at the team is set to be decided this week.

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Haas declined to comment in the wake of the WMSC decisions.

The FIA also decided that representatives of Russian and Belarusian FIA members would have to step aside temporarily “from their roles and responsibilities of elected officers/commissions’ members.”

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No international or zonal competitions would take place in Russia and Belarus, it said, while Russian and Belarusian teams would also be barred from taking part in international or zonal competitions, until further notice.

It also banned the display of any Russian or Belarusian national symbols, colours, flags or the playing of any anthems at international or zonal competitions.

The WMSC added that no FIA grant would be awarded to the Russian or Belarusian FIA Members, until further notice, while existing FIA grant funding would also be halted.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian former F1 racer Daniil Kvyat called banning Russian athletes and teams from international sport an “unfair” solution.

Reuters

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